The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival runs from June 6 to June 8, highlighted by the 151st Belmont Stakes run on Saturday June 8 with Kentucky Derby 8th place finisher and Preakness Stakes winner War of Will the probable favorite in the field of ten. The weather is currently looking pretty good on Belmont Day, mostly sunny with temperatures in the high 70’s. Conditions were excellent both mornings with partly cloudy skies Thursday and sun on Friday.
Joevia visited the track today after arriving at Belmont Park Wednesday. He walked once around the wrong way then back to the barn. Joevia rebounded from a Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets effort, in which he was disqualified and placed 11th, with a strong showing in winning the Long Branch at 1 1/16 miles on May 12 at Monmouth Park, earning a personal-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure.
Everfast galloped on Thursday. Trainer Dale Romans said, “We just jogged Wednesday and he galloped today. But, I think he’s a horse that it doesn’t really matter. Nothing bothers him. He just goes about his business. There’s really not a lot to talk about him, because you wouldn’t even really know he’s there. He’s quiet, he’s sound. He just goes and does his stuff. He never wows you, he never does anything bad. When he runs in a race, he always runs well.”
Tax is trainer Danny Gargan’s first Belmont Stakes starter. The Wood Memorial runner-up will be making his first start since being placed 14th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby last month. Gargan said, “He trained great all week long. I’m really happy with how he has been doing,” Gargan said. “This last week might be the best he’s trained since the Derby. I think he’s really come around, maybe putting the glue-ons on turned him around more than anything, but he’s done tremendous this week.”
Bourbon War has been training without blinkers as he will race without them on Saturday. Trainer Mark Hennig said, “He was not tired at all after the (Preakness). I don’t know how much running he actually did. I held him for a bath after the race and he bit me in the stomach and tore my shirt. He was actually angry.”
Spinoff galloped once around on Thursday. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, “Two days before the Derby, we had a sloppy track at Churchill, and it was, I don’t think he likes this.’ I’m hoping that was the case, because he had trained as consistently as some of the horses we’ve run in the Belmont over the years that have performed well. I’m hoping he catches a fast track and gets to prove how good he is, or not. I think one of the advantages is most of our horses have trained at Belmont for five weeks after the Derby. It helps, and it’s a race we really enjoy.”
Sir Winston went out for a routine gallop and then schooled in the paddock. Trainer Mark Casse said, “One thing we did today is we made darn sure that nobody was around him. The first day he went to the track, he had a horse gallop next to him the entire way. Today, he was as relaxed as he has been.”
War of Will galloped on the main track under exercise rider Kim Carroll and the schooled in the paddock. Trainer Mark Casse said, “He is pretty easy to gallop for the most part. Kim did a good job earlier on because he was very eager earlier this week.”
Tacitus galloped once around on Thursday. Trainer Bill Mott said, “I thought his Derby was good. He came running, but he had to change course a number of times, weaving inside and outside through traffic. He was willing, and he never got stopped or checked, but every time you change course, you’re probably taking a little something away from your momentum. It wasn’t a bad trip, but it wasn’t a golden trip like (disqualified 1st place finisher) Country House actually got.”
Thunder Snow, winner of the last two Dubai World Cups (G1) and over $16 million lifetime, is the favorite for the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) also known as the Met Mile. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, “He needs to run and he will have an American campaign. He will run Saturday and then at Saratoga before the Jockey Club Gold Cup, again, and finally the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. He has always been a very tough horse mentally and physically. Nothing bothers him and right now I know he’s feeling very good. Everything has gone to plan. We just need to start.”